Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our Dirty Little Secret: The College Bookstore

College Bookstores and the Internet

Anecdotally, it looks like the new Higher Education Act is doing a number on college bookstores, and on bookstores in college towns.

A dirty little secret of higher ed: bookstore proceeds are revenue sources for many colleges. When the bookstore is in-house, it’s usually either a direct arm of the college (and therefore a direct revenue source) or a national chain with a contract that pays for the privilege. (Follett and Barnes and Noble are fairly common in these parts.) Either way, it represents a revenue stream. Over the years, colleges with those revenue streams come to rely on them.

In an attempt to help students do battle with ridiculous textbook prices, the new Higher Education Act requires colleges to post textbook information online as soon as practicable. The idea is to make it easier for students to comparison-shop. Why pay a hundred bucks at the college bookstore for your Psych book when you can get the same book online for eighty?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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